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Workshop in Ojai:  September 2011

Sharna Fabiano

of Tango Mercurio & Tango Mujer —


Close Embrace

of the Third Kind


How to Turn on a Dime ... Dance on the Head of a Pin

— and —

Revolutionize Your Most Intimate Tango


Monday - September 19, 2011

- in the Gallery at the Ojai Art Center -





Workshop on Close Embrace / Turns with Sharna Fabiano, September 2011


Overview:  "Close Embrace" Workshop with Sharna Fabiano



Monday, September 19th, 2011



Ojai Art Center - in the Gallery - 113 S. Montgomery, Ojai

Close Embrace Workshop:


6:00 - 7:30 p.m. - an Extended 90-minute Session


Cost:      $20 / Dancer for this Special Workshop


                 2-for-1 / Students with I.D.

Supervised Práctica: 


7:30 - 8:00 p.m.     ... FREE ...

All Levels Class

— Newer + More Experienced Dancers Both Welcome —

Click here for Driving Directions - and - more about Monday Night Tango in Ojai ...


After the Workshop + Práctica, please join us for Social Dancing at ...

The Monday Night "Tango Incident" in Ojai


8:00 - 10:00 p.m.         Free — No Cover

       — at  LOS CAPORALES - 307 East Ojai Avenue, Ojai  - next to Libbey Park

More about the the Monday Night "Tango Incident" in Ojai ...

More About:  "Close Embrace" Workshop with Sharna

In "Close Embrace of the Third Kind," dancer and guest teacher Sharna Fabiano will guide us into a deeper exploration of various turning movements and ideas in tango — all through the lens of a closer embrace between the partners.

From both aesthetic and practical points of view, the kind of embrace we use in any given tango situation can be influenced by any number of factors, including:

  • the kind music that is playing and how we might interpret it
  • the size of the dance floor, the crowd, and how much space there is to move
  • our own preferences and those of our partner
  • the decisions of other dancers sharing the same space
  • the habits and customs of the venue or local community
  • the subjective ebb and flow of our own sensibilities, experiences and feelings

Our choice of embrace also affects other important aspects and details of our tango:  how we hold our bodies, where we put our arms, how we send and receive information with our partners, what kind of movements are most comfortable and accessible, how we navigate and manage the space.

In situations where the couple is turning, a closer embrace can be especially challenging, making unique demands on both the partners and their technique to help manage the angle changes and rotation involved, yet still maintain the depth and integrity of their closer connection.

And in crowded situations like a popular milonga — or on smaller dance floors such as Wednesday night's "house milongas" in Santa Barbara — these skills can become especially valuable and important, allowing us to maximize our enjoyment by helping us make the most of a limited space.

Sharna's extensive background in tango, coupled with her graceful manner in the classroom and her comprehensive mastery of both the leader and follower roles, should make for an exceptional workshop.

In "Close Embrace of the Third Kind," newer and experienced dancers alike will find fresh and more sophisticated ways to "revolutionize" their most intimate tango.



More About Sharna Fabiano

Sharna Fabiano and the Tango first found each other in 1997.

Since that time, she has danced, studied, taught and traveled extensively with the tango throughout Argentina, North America and Europe. From 1998 - 2002, she worked with tango pioneer Daniel Trenner and his seminal Bridge to the Tango, and in 2003 she joined the acclaimed all-woman company Tango Mujer as both a dancer and a choreographer.

In 2006, she moved to Washington, DC, where she later founded the influential Tango Mercurio, a non-profit tango collective that includes a school, outreach programs for youth and elders, a community orchestra, performances and other tango events.

Equally adept at both leading and following, Sharna is a thoughtful and inspiring presence in the classroom — able to break down and share the inner workings tango's movements and ideas with clarity, detail and nuance, all while never losing sight of the "bigger picture" or the deeper reasons that we dance.

A gifted essayist, Sharna's writings about the inner mysteries of tango are among the most incisive available. And in autumn 2011, she relocated to Los Angeles where she will pursue and MFA in dance at UCLA and become part of the teaching team at Oxygen Tango.

For more information about Sharna, please see the links below — and plan on joining us for her workshop in Ojai on September 19th, 2011, "Close Embrace of the Third Kind" ...



Biography — more on Sharna's background in dance, tango, teaching & choreography

Tango Mercurio — a non-profit Tango collective in Washington, D.C., founded by Sharna in 2008

Tango Mujer — the internationally renowned all-woman Tango performance company

Writings — links to several of Sharna's influential essays & articles about Tango

NeoTango — Sharna's 2003 investigation into newer + alternative music for Tango dancers

Links to Selected Video with Sharna:

  • Improvising a D'Arienzo vals with Murat Erdemsel ...
  • Exploring an alternative tango with Korey Ireland ...
  • Improvising and switching roles with Aja Fenn to Piazzolla's Oblivion ...
  • Demonstrating at the end of a workshop with her partner Isaac Oboka ...

More About Tango's Embrace

Tango's Embrace:  Inside and Out

Much of the mystery and magic of tango surely lies within its fabled embrace"el abrazo"a distinctive feature that helps set tango apart from other forms of social dance.

To an observer watching tango unfold from the outside, it may look like the main action is taking place elsewhere — in the legs, hips and feet of the dancers. But on the inside, the partners experience all this movement as the result of something else — a touch that allows two partners to blend their imaginations and energies to create a third, more elusive entity: The Couple.

Indeed, various aspects of our tango embrace can become so moving that its qualities of intimacy, trust and sensuality can rise to dominate our experience of the dance itself. Many experienced tangueros are fond of saying that, for them, the high point of any tango is contained and revealed in that very first moment of contact — as we reach out to embrace our partners — and, in many important ways, all that follows afterward is just delicious anti-climax.


The Depth of an Embrace — Close, Open, and otherwise

Within the larger idea of the embrace, tango offers us many different ways to come together, connect and communicate with our partners as we improvise on the dance floor.

One of the most common methods to begin organizing and describing these many options is to refer to the amount of space that the couple creates and allows between their two bodies — what we call open embrace implies more of this space, close embrace suggests less — and in any given moment, song or evening, our dancing may trend in either direction, or flow between these two imaginary poles in what we might call an "elastic" or dynamic embrace.

Some of these possibilities have roots in a particular sensibility, geography or time period; others catch the nuances of a certain type of music, a well-known orchestra, a favored venue. Many reflect the choices and artistry of influential dancers, and a few echo with the darker currents of bigotry and class bias.

As contemporary dancers, we have the good fortune of being able to access and draw on all this history and depth of experience as we explore, create and express our own Tango together.


Language of the Embrace — and the Notion of "Style"

Of course, with all the options and potential variety in something so fundamental, the possibilities inherent in the embrace can often seem confusing, daunting, even overwhelming — and tango is full of lively, ongoing discussions about how best to characterize and describe all the many factors involved, and how to better understand and apply the intricate ways they influence our larger experience of the dance.

In an effort to make sense of it all, some suggest we adopt the notion of "style" — neat verbal containers aimed at capturing and conveying an elusive (and often shifting) set of presumably "essential qualities."

In practice, however, our efforts to define and express tango with ready labels and simplistic language can often seem less than adequate ...

For closer embrace alone, tango dancers are likely to encounter a whole range of terms — apilado, confitería, club, cafe, milonguero, estilo del centro — yet the late Pedro "Tete" Rusconi, an influential dancer whose enthusiasm for close embrace helped spread and popularize it throughout the 1990s and beyond, preferred the more universal and inclusive term "tango de salon" when referring to his own dancing.

Fortunately for us, not only did Sharna Fabiano study directly with Tete and other masters in Buenos Aires, her own dancing transcends the narrower limits of any one "style" — indeed, Sharna's approach points the way toward how we each might best embody and integrate tango's many currents into an experience that is uniquely our own.



For more about the historical origins and influences on tango's embrace — and the many terms that dancers use to track various "styles" of the dance — see these thoughts from Stephen Brown, Christine Denniston, and Daniel Trenner.

For more about Tete Rusconi, see this documentary about him on youtube.

Past Quantum Tango Workshops & Events with Visiting Dancers:


•    Folias Tango Quartet & Avik Basu — "Tango Music:  Its Secrets Revealed" — August 2010

•    Daniel Trenner — "Milonga:  Traditional Perspectives & Traspie" — May 2009

•    Sabine Zubarik — "Milonga for Beginners" — April 2009

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Mulitple Workshops — October 2007   (pdf)

•    Andrés Amarilla : Extended Residency — January / February / March 2007   (pdf)

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Tango Lab: "Alternative Embrace" — May 2006

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Multiple Workshops — May / June 2006   (pdf)

•    Andrés Amarilla + Meredith Klein — Tango Lab Intensive: "Nuevo" — February 2006


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